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60,000 people march through NYC for Israel Day on Fifth Parade, organizers report. Check out the photos.

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The 60th annual Israel Day on Fifth Parade in New York City drew in 60,000 participants, including 70 relatives of individuals kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th. The theme of this year’s parade was “Bring Them Home,” highlighting the 125 hostages still in captivity. Participants marched up Fifth Avenue wearing t-shirts and holding signs with the names and faces of the kidnapped individuals, demanding their safe return. Razi Shalbi, whose niece Daniella Gilboa was kidnapped by Hamas, shared the heartbreaking story of her abduction from her bed in pajamas.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul led the march, vowing to combat antisemitism by passing tougher laws related to hate crimes, providing more security grants for institutions, and ensuring Holocaust education in schools. Security was tight for the parade, with streets blocked, police officers armed with long guns, and drones monitoring from above. Both spectators and participants had to pass through security checkpoints, with barricades and chain-link fencing set up to prevent potential disruptions. Despite the somber and peaceful march, there was a counter-protest by fellow Jews upset about Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which police kept away from the parade.

Meanwhile, Israel’s defense minister announced plans to establish an alternative governing body for Gaza to replace Hamas. The United States is pushing Israel to accept a three-phase cease-fire proposal outlined by President Joe Biden, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called a permanent cease-fire a “nonstarter” unless Hamas is dismantled. The atmosphere at the parade was tense yet respectful, with thousands calling for the release of hostages and showing solidarity with Israel. The event highlighted the ongoing conflict in the region and the hope for a peaceful resolution.

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